Bruno Major is British. So British. He’s rakish and handsome, but also earnest in a way that appeals to nearly everyone. His presence has a vulnerable ego-less quality that’s rarely found in famous musicians.
When he took the stage on Wednesday night at the Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever, the crowd immediately quieted. Major’s lilting, smooth vocals are strong, yet simultaneously delicate. So delicate, a mere cough from the crowd felt like an interruption. The crowd immediately fell under his gentle spell and remained astonishing quiet and respectful throughout the whole set.
The Masonic Lodge is one of my favorite venues in LA. First of all, it’s in the middle of a graveyard in a building built during Los Angeles’ storied 1930s. The Lodge’s wrought iron and stone exterior makes concertgoers feel like they’re stepping into a different era. It’s intimate, strange, and delightfully creepy and it was the perfect setting for Major’s modern, retro crooning.
Between songs, Major told the story of his 2017 album A Song for Every Moon, explaining that he wrote and released one song a month for the entire year. He joked that while the first few months flowed nicely, the project proved itself to be especially ambitious during the month he tried to write his hit “Easily.” Ironically, “Easily” turned out to be one of the most difficult songs to write on the album. Major joked that he returned to his flat after a night of heavy drinking, scrapped the previous version of the song and tinkered around on his piano until something emerged. What he recorded that night, drunk in his apartment is now the hit single and the rest is history.
During “In Cold Blood,” a young-looking teenager next to me closed his eyes, dipped his head and sang along with emotion. Looking around, I could see the majority of the audience was holding a partner’s hand tightly, gazing dreamily at the stage or singing along. It’s nice to see people who aren’t trying to be cool at a concert, and are actually letting the full emotion wash over them. There’s something charmingly disarming about it.
One of the night’s surprises came in the form of a young singer songwriter by the name of Eloise who performed with Major onstage throughout his set. After a particularly gorgeous duet cover of Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” he introduced Eloise, explaining that he found her covering one of his songs on Instagram and invited her to join his tour. Not only was it the most millennial story I’d ever heard, but it impressed me that as a male musician he had lifted up this younger, greener female musician and invited her to share his spotlight. Big ups to Major.
After the show ended, the crowd spilled out into unseasonably cold LA night. Kids teetered on the edge of the plots, chatting at they walked out, while the headstones glistened dew, gently reflecting the city sky — the past and present mingling in a weird and lovely dance.
Words and photos by Stephanie Varela Rheingold
Bruno wrapped up his time in Los Angeles by making his American late-night television debut by performing on The Late Late Show With James Corden on Thursday. Major will also be opening for Sam Smith on an arena tour across the UK this spring. Watch him perform “Easily” on Corden below!